Penny Forward Transcript S2E11 Eating Healthy On A Budget

Chris: Does healthy eating need to be expensive?


Marana: Eating healthy on a budget is certainly doable. It does take more planning, it does take more forethought, and you have to be willing to, to cook at home as well. And studies have shown that we consume 20 to 40 percent fewer calories whenever we eat at home than whenever we do go out.



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Chris: This is the Penny Forward podcast, a show about blind people building bright futures, one penny at a time.


Liz: I’m Liz Botner.


Chris: And I’m Chris Peterson.


Liz: We are blind people, learning what it takes to be successful in our personal, professional, and financial lives.



Chris: I had a conversation last summer with a friend who said, “I just can’t eat healthy because it’s too expensive.” So I got to wondering. Is it really too expensive? Could we do a podcast episode about eating healthy on a budget? So Liz and I got together and talked about it and decided to invite our friend Marana Vradenberg, who is a nutrition expert, on to the show to talk about what it means to eat healthy, how we can eat healthy at home or at a restaurant and still maintain a budget, what we might want to do if we’re a picky eater, and much, much more. Before we get started with that conversation, though, I want to thank Taylor’s Accessible Branding Solutions for sponsoring the podcast, and providing web hosting for

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Chris: Let’s now introduce Marana. Marana, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about why you are an expert on nutrition?


Marana: For sure. I’m Mirana Vradenberg, I live in California, and I am a certified personal trainer and a nutrition specialist. And my initial interest in eating healthy and stuff is because I am a type one diabetic, so of course, it was to make sure that I was educated enough to take care of myself. And that just kind of moved into a passion, you know, people asking me questions about, you know, their own health, and wanting some advice and stuff. And I just really do love sharing that information because it’s so important to us, and important to our keeping ourselves healthy, and just the quality of life that we live. And whatever I can do to help somebody out, I’m happy to.


Chris: What do we mean by healthy eating?


Marana: Healthy eating, everybody has a different idea of what it is, and most times people are looking towards some sort of a diet, often times a fad diet or, you know, one that’s trendy. But really, healthy eating is making sure that you are getting the proper amount of nourishment, and that the majority of your nutrients are coming from just good, nutrient dense foods. That your calories are calories that count towards good health. We like to have an assortment of foods from different colored fruits and vegetables, and different types of whole grains, and proteins and stuff, because each of them have different nutritional qualities that our bodies require. And so I would say that healthy eating is just making sure that the vast majority of our diet comes from nutrient dense foods.


Liz: Is there an ideal meal for an average person?


Marana: Well, the meal choice, as far as like food choice, is gonna be up to each individual, but as far as serving size, that’s what we want to look at. So the government’s “My Plate” is a great example. They’ve moved away from the food pyramid because it was based on servings more than food. They’ve removed saturated fats completely, and sugars and stuff just because those are really not things that count towards good health, but instead, it’s divided into several different sections. Half of that plate is taken up by fruits and vegetables. A quarter of it is taken up by lean protein, and the other is whole grains, and then there’s a space for dairy. So, one way to remember is that our bodies, our hands are scaled to the size of our bodies. And our hands are a great measuring tool, you would say, for how much we should be consuming. So, for women, whenever we’re looking at protein, you know, steak or chicken or whatever your protein choice is, we want a serving that is the size and the thickness of the palm of our hands. And that’s usually about three ounces to maybe four and a half, five ounces for women who have bigger hands. And then our carbohydrate choice. So we’re looking at, you know, a bread, or a pasta, or rice, something like that. That should be about the size of a cupped handful. So we’re looking at maybe a half of a cup. And then, whenever we want our fat serving, that should be the size of one thumb. So we’re talking, you know, maybe a tablespoon of butter. So if you had like a small potato, and then you added a tablespoon of butter, or maybe half a tablespoon of butter and some sour cream, or, you know, maybe a little bit of cheese, all those are fat sources. And then, as far as our vegetable choices, you want to have two of your fistfuls. And so we’re looking at, you know, maybe two cups, as far as that goes. And for men, basically, we want to double it. You want to have your protein to be two of your palm sizes, so maybe, I’d say, that, you know, if it’s a small man, you’re still gonna be looking at like six to seven ounces, and then a larger man, you’re gonna have maybe like eight to ten ounces for that. And then for your carbohydrate serving, you’re gonna have two cupped handfuls, so probably three quarters of a cup to a cup, and then, really, with the vegetable servings, you still would just want to stick to two of your fistfuls. That’s gonna be probably, maybe more like two and a half cups or so, and then two thumb fulls. So, you know, they do allow a little bit more calories for men. But that’s just a good basic thing, and it’s helpful because that follows you wherever you go. Whether you’re home, whether you’re in a restaurant, wherever you are, you kind of have that guide to know, “Okay, this is what a proper serving size should look like.”


Chris: I have heard that it’s unhealthy to eat highly processed foods. But I’m not sure what that means. What do we mean by highly processed foods?


Marana: Okay, so, all of our foods are processed. Even our vegetables and stuff. You know, they’re processed  in a way that, you know, they wash them and stuff. But when we talk about highly processed, that means that, what they’re looking at is taste and preservation. They want foods that taste good, and that they add a lot of preservatives to, so they have a longer shelf life. And, what they have to do to do that though, is sometimes they use different chemicals. Often times they add a lot of sugar, or unhealthy fats, a lot of sodium and stuff. So we really are looking at something that basically doesn’t have any good nutritional value. It’s meant for just filling our stomach, and lasting as long as it can. So, those are things that we want to stay away from. And processed foods, highly processed foods, would be like, chips. And cookies. And like crackers. And, anything that comes out of a box or a bag. cause those things tend to not have very high nutritional value, and they do tend to have a lot of calories, and really just don’t benefit us at all in regards to health.


Liz: And we’ve established that highly processed foods are unhealthy and things that we should stay away from, but why is that? What are the dangers of not staying away from them and having them all the time?


Marana: Eating a diet high in processed foods leads to things like heart disease, and diabetes, and weight gain, and high cholesterol, and all those diseases that may not effect us whenever we’re younger, but we certainly start to see as the age creeps up. And so, food is our fuel for our bodies. Food, and the nutrients that we get from food, are the things that keep our body functioning the way that we need to. They’re the things that make our heart beat correctly. Whenever we refer to metabolism, people always want to think of it in regards to just, you know, weight loss and stuff. “Oh, I have a high metabolism or I have a low metabolism.” Metabolism is the body’s ability to use food and nutrients efficiently. So we need those foods to keep our joints lubricated. To keep our blood flowing properly. To keep our heart beating properly so that we know that all of our organs are functioning healthy. And if you don’t have that, I mean it’s like putting water in a gas tank. Your body just kind of is like, “I don’t know what to do with this.” And essentially, we are eating high calorie diets, but they don’t have any nutritional value. So, essentially you’re starving yourself while, at the same time, becoming overweight.


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Chris: Okay. So, we want to eat things that actually grew in the ground, or things that actually came from animals, and not add much to them, and that sounds expensive. Does healthy eating need to be expensive?


Marana: Healthy eating can be expensive. You know, it definitely costs more to buy a bag of chicken breasts than it does a few boxes of macaroni and cheese. But with some planning, and knowing how to shop correctly, within your budget, eating healthy on a budget is certainly doable. And also knowing that there are stores like Whole Foods and those that may have some awesome choices, but usually those places are really overpriced. You know, I’ve been in like a Whole Foods store where a box of cereal was literally eleven dollars. You know, who can afford eleven dollars for a box of cereal? It’s just being mindful and knowing the kinds of foods that we should be eating. So, for instance, you know, you’re not gonna be eating a chicken breast at every meal. So, you buy the chicken breast, and, say for lunch, you know, you have maybe a couple of eggs, which eggs are relatively inexpensive, have a piece of toast, you know, maybe some juice, just trying to get a good variety going on there. So, maybe add in some vegetables or some fruit and stuff. And then, for lunch, you know, just making wise choices in regards to maybe we do a tuna sandwich or something like that. For dinner, so say do like a chicken breast, and then maybe have some fresh vegetables with it, and maybe do like some rice and some beans. Rice and beans are some of the cheapest things that you can buy. You know, I mean not everybody wants to live on rice and beans, but as an added side or something, they are pretty inexpensive, and they also provide protein that we need for a day. So, it’s pretty inexpensive. And, as far as like, fruits and vegetables and stuff go, buying things that are in season, it’s much cheaper to buy things that way. If you can’t find fruits and vegetables that are in season, then frozen is always a good way to go. and it also makes more sense, because if something is in season, you’re getting it at the peak of its ripeness. Which means it’s most nutritionally dense. And if it’s out of season, that means that it was picked prematurely, and then it was shipped in. So you’re not getting the most nutritional value out of it. Frozen fruits and vegetables are always picked at the peak of their ripeness, and so they’re frozen, and they retain that nutritional value, and they do tend to be a lot less expensive than trying to buy something fresh that is out of season. Grocery stores are always running deals on, you know, like meats and things like that. Buying things in bulk and freezing them is a great way to go. Preparing things ahead of time, doing like meal planning and stuff like that, is a good way to go. It can lessen the cost of things. And also, you can buy things like skirt steak or chicken thighs or brisket, things like that. That maybe aren’t prime cuts of meat, but cooked right, they still do have a good flavor to them, and they also have a lot more nutritional value than a box of macaroni and cheese. You know, so, is it impossible? Absolutely not. It is definitely possible. It does take more planning, it does take more forethought, and you have to be willing to, to cook at home as well. And studies have shown that we consume 20 to 40 percent fewer calories whenever we eat at home, than whenever we do go out. So, it does come a long way in helping us to stay on track in regards to our nutrition.


Liz: What are some of the things that can help in the planning? I mean you mentioned different types of foods that are less expensive, and, you know, looking at the nutrition info and things like that. What other things can we do to kind of keep the costs at a minimum, and not be totally blown away, and want to run away from that eleven-dollar box of cereal, …


(Marana laughs.)


Liz: That we see on the shelf.


Marana: Yeah. For sure. I mean a lot of times even just knowing what’s in things. So that box of cereal was 11 dollars, which probably includes like some oatmeal, maybe some nuts and things like that. You could go and buy a thing of Quaker oatmeal, and you could buy some almonds or pecans or whatever you want, and you could buy just some like, you know, Special K or one of those that are a little bit better, and you can make your own cereal. You know, it’s gonna be a whole lot more affordable, and that food is gonna go a lot further than just that one box of cereal. Also, paying attention to the ads from your supermarket. They are always running ads for the specials that are gonna be coming up, and knowing, “Oh, this is gonna be on sale, and so it would be a good time for me to go and get this,” and like I said, freezing stuff is not a problem. Knowing what your grocery store has available, maybe shop around a little bit, sometimes one store will have something for a price, and then a store down the street is gonna have it for half the price. Maybe it takes a little bit of, you know, getting around and going to get different things, and I understand for visually impaired and stuff, that could be more challenging, but even with, you know, using services like Instacart or things like that, just doing a little bit of planning ahead and, and knowing can go a long way in helping to save some pennies when we’re looking to try and stay on track as far as our health goes.


Chris: So, planning ahead sounds like it could take a lot of time, and I’m pretty busy. So I’m wondering if there’s any ways that I can plan ahead to eat healthy, but save myself time at the same time.


Marana: Meal prep goes a long way with that. If you can take one day out of the week, just one day out of the week, and sit down, and put together a menu of, “Okay, this is what I’m gonna have.” And maybe one night you have like, chicken taco salad. And another night you’re gonna have, you know, some sort of pasta with chicken or whatever. You cook your meat and stuff ahead of time, you know, it’s gonna last a few days in the refrigerator, and you get your vegetables and things ready to go. You look at your shopping list, and you buy these different things, and also, using ingredients that can cross over from one dish to another. And that way, you’re able to get some variety in your diet, but you’re not really expanding your budget too much whenever it comes to, “I’ve got to have all these different ingredients and stuff.” There’s a lot of cross-over between, you know, if you’re gonna make a salad, then the next night, you can have, you know, tacos. And with that salad, you’ve got lettuce and tomato and whatever, well, in those tacos, you’re gonna put lettuce and tomato and all those same ingredients. So just taking a little bit of time to sit down, put together a menu, and like, “Okay, these are ingredients that we’re gonna need for this, and making that fit, and also referring to different websites. There’s a ton of information available out there that can give you ideas for recipes, and looking to see what things are nutritionally dense, and just educating yourself on, like what good foods look like and bad foods look like, and having those things on hand that are good for you, and not keeping those chips and things in the cabinet. So that you are prepared and ready to start eating healthily and staying away from those easy convenience food that tend not to agree so well with our waste lines.


Liz: I hear sometimes, well actually a lot of times, from people that they really don’t like vegetables, and so they try not to eat vegetables, but do we really need to eat them, or can we just not eat them?


Marana: Vegetables and fruit are very important. I mean, we get our fiber, that’s where so many of our vitamins and minerals come from. They do have some sugar in them as far as fruit goes, but our bodies use it much better than we get sugar from a candy bar say. It’s lower on the glycemic index. You know? And the colors of different vegetables and fruits are called phytochemicals. And those phytochemicals have been shown to be really high in nutritional value, and also, they’re really rich in like antioxidants and things like that that have, you know, cancer fighting agents. They destroy free radicals and those types of things. So, really, what we put into our bodies really matters whenever it comes to trying to avoid illness and those types of things, and that really comes from a lot of our fruits and vegetables that we eat.


Chris: Okay, so we know how to eat healthy at home, but sometimes we do eat out, either for fun or because we’re out, and we don’t have a choice. So is there a way to eat healthy, while eating at a restaurant?


Marana: There absolutely is. I mean, if you’re going in willy nilly, maybe you didn’t plan ahead, you didn’t know where you were gonna stop, you didn’t, you know, you didn’t have any plans to, there’s certain things that we can look for in the menu. And certain ways that we can order to ensure that we’re getting the healthiest food possible. So, whenever we’re looking at different meats, we want to stay away from those that are fried. You know, you want to look for things like, “blackened,” or “grilled.” You know, key words like that to let us know, “Okay, this is not fried.” And, we want to, say we’re going to a Mexican restaurant. Asking for like whole beans and rice rather than the refried beans is a much better choice. Some people think, “Oh, I’m gonna go in there, I’m gonna order a salad, and, you know, that will be a healthy choice.” Well I’ve seen some salads that have upwards of 1400 calories in the salad. And here people think that they’re eating healthy. Well, just because they put fried chicken on a salad doesn’t make it any healthier. So we’re looking for the grilled chicken or the blackened chicken. We’re looking for lots of fruits and vegies. And staying away from cream sauces, and staying away from like, a bunch of cheeses and stuff like that. Also, if you’re at home, you’re getting ready to go, most restaurants these days have their menus available online. So if you go on there and you look, and you make a healthy choice before you go, if you put it in your head that, “Okay, this is what I’m gonna get, this is how I’m gonna order it,” and you go in there and you stick to that, that’s a much better way of going in there, and then falling to some sort of craving. You know, just get it in your head like, “Okay, this is what I’m gonna do.” And having a plan whenever you go there is certainly helpful. Also, restaurants tend to serve a way bigger portion than we really require. One thing I tell clients is that when you go to a restaurant, when you order your meal, ask them for a to go box right when you order your meal. And have them bring it to you when they bring you your food. And then take half of everything that you get, and put it in the to go box, and then take it home for the next day. That way, you’re turning one meal into two, and you’re staying closer to what your portion sizes should be. Making choices too, you know, you don’t want to feel completely deprived. And so you go and you say, “Okay, I’m gonna allow myself either an appetizer or a dessert.” But going in and having an appetizer, having a full meal, and then ordering dessert, you know, probably gonna be way over the calorie amount that we need. Those are all ways that we can save money, and we can limit our intake so that we’re kind of staying within the boundaries of what we’ve set for ourselves in regards to our nutrition requirements.


Liz: Related to setting boundaries and nutrition requirements, are there things that people with different medical conditions, such as those who have diabetes, or maybe some food allergies, should look out for, and I guess the secondary question to that is, what if we’re just a really picky eater?

(Marana laughs.)


Liz: What do we do then?


Marana: Fortunately, most restaurants, if you’re a really picky eater, most restaurants will kind of listen to you and say “Okay I want this, but I want you to leave this off,” they’re willing to customize things a little bit better. Going to the restaurants that you like, becoming familiar with the types of dishes that you like, and then looking at it and seeing maybe what some alternatives are, you know, to see how you can trim it up a little bit. Maybe some restaurant offers ground turkey instead of ground beef, which would probably be a little bit … lessen the calories a little bit. And, you know, just choosing to leave off some of the things that are maybe a little bit more calorie dense that really aren’t that nutritionally dense. And also, in regards to diabetes and, and  allergies and stuff, you really just need to know, you know, if you’re diabetic, or, or  if you’re allergic to things, you really just need to know how your body reacts to different types of foods. I’m diabetic, and I know pretty much how different foods, whether it’s rice, or, you know, whatever it is, is going to effect my blood sugars. So you go in knowing what your body can tolerate and what it cannot. I haven’t found that they’re going to charge any differently really whenever it comes to, like if you have an allergy to ask them to leave things off, or, or maybe if you ask them to substitute something, there might be an up-charge there. I know a lot of people, a lot of restaurants these days are doing a lot of gluten free stuff, and I haven’t really noticed much of a difference if you’re ordering off the GF menu and stuff. But it’s just knowing your own body, and what you can tolerate and how your body reacts to it and stuff that helps the most.


Male Announcer: We’ll continue our interview in a moment. But first, …


(Sound of knock on door.)


Guy: (calling:) Who is it?


Guy on the other side of the door: Got a pizza here for Mr. Stanly Spadouski.


Stanly: (calling:)  Pizza? For me? Oh boy!

(Sound of door opening.)


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Oh, and uh, hold the anchovies.


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Chris: I just had pizza for supper this evening. And, I’m wondering, was that a healthy choice?


(Marana laughs.)


Marana: You know, pizza is not the healthiest choice, but there are ways that you can make it healthier. These days, they offer the thin crusts, like the cracker thin crusts that are a little bit better than those, those super thick crusts that have, you know, like Pizza Hut with their pan crusts that have all the oil on the bottom of those. Quite tasty but not so good as far as health goes. And, you know, they have the whole wheat crusts and stuff like that. Choosing to maybe go lighter on the cheese, so you’re lessening the fat in it, this is sounding no fun, I’m sure, for those pizza lovers, but … (Chuckle.) And then opting to put, you know, maybe some vegetables on there, like mushrooms, and like green peppers, and those types of things. So, you can healthen it up, I guess that’s … That’s probably not a word, but I just made it one. You can make it a little bit healthier if, depending on how … you know, the type of crust and all that, just kind of building your own, and, and ordering it that way and choosing healthier toppings than the, you know, sausage and pepperoni and those types of things that tend to be higher in calories.


Chris: I guess maybe my meat lovers pizza was not a particularly healthy choice. I’ll keep that in mind.


(Marana chuckles.)


Chris: Salads are sometimes a little bland to me unless I have a really good dressing on them. Are there dressings that are better choices than others for salads if you’re like me, and you need to have your salad soaked in something?


Marana: Yeah. You know it’s funny because people always relate healthy eating to salad, and it’s not really THE healthiest choice. I mean iceberg lettuce is really … doesn’t really have any nutritional value to it at all. There’s no, you know, real nutrients or anything. If you’re gonna go with a lettuce, I would go with like a kale salad, or maybe something like kale and cabbage and maybe like some romaine lettuce, and so it gives a little bit more texture and stuff than just, you know, iceberg lettuce. And then, having a lot of, you know, like, tomatoes and avocado or whatever. But in regards to the dressings directly, yes, there are. You can make your own, you can do like a Balsamic vinegar. And maybe, I like to do Balsamic vinegar with a little bit of honey mustard, and that just like is  kind of a sweet and add a little bit of sour type thing. They sell a lot of Balsamic vinaigrettes in the grocery store. They offer them in restaurants. Staying away from your thick and creamy is what we’re trying to do. You know, Ranch dressing, Thousand island dressing and those, they tend to have a lot of calories in them. In regards to like store bought, I like the Wishbone light Italian dressing. A lot of times you’ll notice that things that they reduce the fat in, so, say it’s a low fat ranch. You’re gonna notice that has a sweet taste to it. And the reason for that is because when they take away fat, they’re still looking to preserve taste. And so they add sugar. So really, not the best choice to take away the fat and add the sugar. Maybe there’s, you know, less fat in it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a whole lot better for you. Even like a Balsamic and, like an olive oil, and maybe squeezing a little bit of lemon in it or something. Olive oil, yes, it does have fat in it, yes there are calories in it, but they are what we call a good type of fat, so they promote lower cholesterol and those types of things. I even like to just squeeze fresh lemon over a salad, you know, with some cucumber and tomato and stuff. I mean, so many vegetables have so much juice to them, that they add that to the salad itself and adds in a little bit of flavor to it as well, but we certainly don’t want to be having our soup and salad in one dish. (Chuckle.)


Liz: Smoothies are really popular these days. Is that really a healthy thing? And for someone who may be wanting to try a smoothie, what are … Like are there better smoothies than others, or is it really just preference in terms of what we like, as individual people?


Marana: Smoothies are, a lot of times, especially when it’s hot, people tend to not want to eat a hot meal. They just want something that’s nice and cool and refreshing, and so they’ll go for a smoothie. The problem with smoothies is that most times, they’re really, really high in sugar. And so, are there ways of cutting that down? Yes there are. If you’re making one at home, you can opt for using something like almond milk, or coconut milk, and then maybe throwing in frozen berries. You know, strawberries or blueberries or something like that. You can put in a little bit of kale, or even a little bit of spinach. Those things, you can’t really taste them in a smoothie, but they are adding nutritional value. And then also putting in, like a little bit of Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a great choice. It is low fat, there aren’t that many calories in it, and they do have quite a bit of protein in them. So, I would say stay away from like Jamba Juice, because those things, some of their smoothies have upwards of 4 or 5 hundred calories in them, and a lot of sugar. But if you want a smoothie, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just try to keep the sugar level down, and use things that, you know, have a great flavor, but maybe not be so calory dense.


Chris: I wonder if we could talk about drinks for a moment? Because soda is clearly not the healthiest choice, but many of us really like to drink it because it has a lot of flavor. And I’ve heard some people say that other choices, like water, just don’t appeal to them because it has little or no flavor. Do you have ideas for drinks that can be flavorful and still be healthy choices?


Marana: Yeah, I mean if you’re an iced tea fan, there are so many different flavors of iced teas and stuff these days. A lot of times, as well, they have like the sparkling waters. I don’t particularly like sparkling water just on its own, but I’ve found that if I add in just a little bit of juice, like a little bit of grape juice or something like that, it has a lot of flavor, and really low calory, low sugar, and kind of gives you that little bit of a fizz that a soda’s gonna give you, and definitely far fewer calories. You know, sodas are … I know people that have lost a ton of weight by giving up soda alone. I would say just try to improvise with that, there’s obviously, like diet sodas and stuff like that, people feel different ways about those, but I do like the trick with using the sparkling water with a little bit of juice in it, and then I’m a big fan of different types of teas and stuff. So, you know, avoiding putting sugar in it, they have like the truvia, or stevia, or those that you can put in it to sweeten it up a little bit if you want, and … You know, definitely alcoholic drinks, those are things people like to consume as well, and they tend to have a lot of calories in them. There are ways that you can make them with fewer calories. I know, what do they call it? Is it a skinny margarita. And they use, you know, like the tequila and stuff, but they’ll actually use Crystal Light to be the sweetener that they add to it. And those are actually pretty tasty. I’ve had those before. If you’re going out and ordering like a pina colata or one of those, you’re looking at a ton of calories and a ton of sugar in those. So, do you have to give it up completely? No, but also be mindful of what you’re consuming.


Chris: This is really good information, and if I’m having trouble keeping track of this, or maybe I want somebody to give me more one on one help, what kinds of people can do that, and can I afford them, especially if maybe I have lower income?


Marana: You can talk to your doctor, especially if you have allergies or if you are diabetic. And you can ask them to be referred to a dietician, and that is covered by insurance. So there’s, I mean unless you have a co-pay, there’s really not a cost there. There are people like myself that do a lot of work with lower income people and stuff, and I mean I’m always willing to help people out, and I know there are a lot of others that are out there as well. Plus, we’re always putting out content in regards to, you know, different ideas for healthy eating and stuff like that, so just going online and researching. There’s just, with the internet, it’s just an abundance of information that you can find. Just reaching out to those people that you know that maybe are trying to live the same lifestyle as you, and finding out tips and tricks and stuff like that. But if you’re looking to go out to a gym, and hire a personal trainer or a nutrition coach or something, some of them can be affordable, and some of them can be pretty expensive. If that’s something that you feel like you want to do, you could pay for one-time consultation, and just because you do it one time doesn’t mean it has to be going. So go in there, and get the advice that they have, maybe have them write you a nutrition plan, and learn what the basics are. Like teach yourself how to eat. Teach yourself about portion control. Teach yourself about the nutritional value in stuff. And just take it from there. Once you learn, “Okay, well this is what a good meal looks like. This is what a good  day of eating looks like.” Okay, I can start to swap out, you know, my chicken for steak.” Or “I can swap out these vegetables for these vegetables.” And it’s just building your own knowledge. Doing research and finding things that you like and things that you don’t, and, you know, starting to take it into your own hands, and, I mean it’s your life to live, it’s your health, it’s the lifestyle that you want, and I just say, you know, build it for yourself. There’s plenty of us out there that are willing to help, but you really have to want to do it, and you have to be invested in it for it to be able to work.


Chris: I think you said that you’re willing to work with people. Where can people contact you directly if they want to get in touch with you?


Marana: I’m always here on Clubhouse, and they can also E-mail me at

[email protected]

and I’m on social media platforms. I’m on Facebook, I’m on Instagram, I’m on Twitter, so hit me up and we can definitely chat about what you’re wanting, and what direction I can help you go with that.


Chris: And, of course, we put Marana’s contact information, as well as a link to

into the show notes.  Do you have a healthy eating tip that you would like to share? Why not join the Penny Forward Facebook group, a safe space where you can share comments and questions related to your finances with members of the Penny Forward Community.


Chris: If you enjoy the Penny Forward podcast, please rate, review, and share it with your friends. We’re supported by your donations. Please help us to continue producing Penny Forward by following the tip jar link in the show notes, or by visiting


Liz: The Penny forward Podcast is produced by Liz Botner and Chris Peterson. Audio editing and postproduction is provided by Byron Lee, and transcription is provided by Anne Verduin. Music was composed and performed by Andre Loui, and web hosting is provided by Taylor’s Accessibility Services.


Chris: Penny Forward is a community of blind people building bright futures, one penny at a time. Visit

to learn more about who we are, and what we do. Until next time, for all of us in the Penny Forward community, I’m Chris Peterson.


Liz: And I’m Liz Botner. Thanks for listening, and have a great week.





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